Home Service Sunday 2nd July 2023

Prayers of Approach

You have called us to you, O God; your welcome awaited long before we ever responded. Certain of your joy at our coming, we gather before you to worship and adore.
Living God, we thank you for your kindness towards us. Give us grateful hearts, and direct us in ways we can share your kindness with one another and with your world.
God, in your Son our Lord, you extend your welcome to all nations.
You are the universal God.
Christ Jesus, you opened the kingdom of God to all, even those excluded by deed or creed from sacred rites and places.
Holy Spirit, your indwelling is a welcome that embraces us in belonging.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in word and deed, trinity of welcome in realms above and below, we thank and praise you for the everlasting arms outstretched to welcome us, to enfold us, to catch us when we fall; and for the heart that overflows with love and acceptance.

Help us to see others with your eyes, to love with your heart, and to welcome with your arms, in your holy name. Amen.

Hymn Give me joy in my heart (Sing Hosanna, R&S 523)

Readings: Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

Jeremiah 28:5-9

Matthew 10:40-42


Jeremiah was not the only prophet in Israel; others claimed to speak for God too. In today’s reading he clashes with Hananiah, who thought any trouble would be short-term, whereas Jeremiah asserted that the people would go into exile for a lifetime. History would ultimately prove which message was right, but Jeremiah argues that his message is consistent with the prophets who preceded him. But if Hananiah’s word turns out to be wrong, many lives will have been wrecked as a result. It is a reminder to all who claim to speak for God that they need to be sure they are hearing right before they open their mouths.

Jesus concludes his teaching on mission by stressing the close identification between Father God, Jesus himself, those who go in his name, and those who receive his followers in the right spirit. He sends his disciples out to preach in his name, and they are to assume that God will provide for them. We are given a glimpse of God’s economy, where those who give to others are rewarded by their heavenly father, even if they give just a cup of cold water to someone who needs it.

The Gospel and Old Testament readings are both concerned with the ways in which the people of God who bring the message of God are received by others. As such, they demonstrate that the reception is not always positive, but, at the end of the age, there will be profound consequences for the recipients.

Hymn The spirit of the Lord revealed (R&S 311)


During the long period between Pentecost and Advent the lectionary offers a choice of Old Testament readings – continuous, which as its name implies takes us through a book at a time over several weeks following the story as it is written, and related, in which the theme of the Old Testament passage mirrors that of the Gospel reading. They are given along with a Psalm which complements the OT reading and reflects our relationship with God, and a reading from the Epistles which expounds on what it means to be a Christian and how to live a Christian life.

Today’s readings come from the related strand yet at first glance they seem to have little in common, one being about prophecy and how a true prophecy is recognised and the other about welcome and how those who welcome others will be rewarded. The Psalm however gives some clues as to how the readings are linked. Like our reading from Jeremiah it was probably written during a time of national crisis when the people’s faith was being severely tested and reminds us of God’s steadfast love and covenant promise, and the rewards of remaining faithful to God. This resonates with Jesus’ words about those who welcome the ones he sends, because they are sent by him those who welcome them will be welcoming Jesus and the God who sent him.

The disciples are not offering their own thoughts on what life is about they are bringing the message of their Lord; and those who welcome that message, welcome the one whom the message is about. This is similar to Jeremiah’s pronouncement about how his words and that of the prophets who preceded him are received. There will be rewards or consequences for the recipients depending on how they receive the message and the messengers.

Both Matthew and Jeremiah stress the importance of bearing God’s word but Matthew adds an extra dimension – it involves listening as well as speaking, receiving as well as giving. Earlier in the chapter Jesus had warned the disciples that he was sending them out ‘as sheep among wolves’ but urged them also to rely on the hospitality of the people to whom they were going and to accept whatever welcome they were offered. In this way it becomes a sharing in the life of the community and the gospel is something to be lived out in encounters with one another, where God’s blessings are mutually given and received.

Hospitality and welcome therefore is not just passive – it isn’t waiting for someone to come to us, approach us or ask us for help. It is an active reaching out but not just to give. We need to learn to receive and to be received, welcoming what is offered, even if it is not what we want. Perhaps you can think of an occasion when you really appreciated receiving hospitality. What did is say about the nature of God’s love? Was there a balance between speaking and listening, giving and receiving?

· What does it mean to welcome someone?

· How do you welcome someone who comes to your home?

· What might you be able to do to offer a welcome to someone at home or church?

· Where do you see welcome being offered in the world today?

Hymn Brother, sister, let me serve you (R&S 474)

Prayers of Intercession

God, you are the open arms of acceptance, the warmth of a hearty welcome, the joy of a sincere smile. We cannot see you, yet we know by faith that Jesus embodied your welcoming presence in his dealings with your needy children. We come to you, in worship and adoration for all that you are, to pray for our world.

We pray for those on the fringes of society; for those who feel rejected; for those who are overlooked; for those whom others avoid. May they know they are welcome in your kingdom. May they know the welcome of your love.

We pray for those who are lonely. May they know they are welcome in your kingdom. May they know the welcome of your love.

We pray for those in prison; especially those kept in isolation. May they know they are welcome in your kingdom. May they know the welcome of your love.

We pray for children excluded from school; for their families and those with responsibility for their education. May they know they are welcome in your kingdom. May they know the welcome of your love.

Loving God, as you welcome us, may we welcome others with warmth and steadfast love. Amen.

Hymn Living God your joyful spirit (R&S 530)


Loving God, as we hold your chain of acts of loving kindness between us, send us all out to show people what you are like. Be with us as we share your love and kindness each day this week. Amen.

Prayers and other material (adapted) © Roots for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.

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